Showing posts from October, 2021

From the G20 to COP

Over the weekend   the Prime Minister attended the G20 Summit in Rome , meeting with world leaders ahead of the COP26 Summit in Glasgow, as Britain and other nations continue to work together to combat climate change and build back greener from the pandemic. Ahead of the COP26 summit - the G20 meeting in Rome gives us the opportunity to highlight the aims of this historic summit, as well as how we build back better from the pandemic alongside our international allies. Britain has agreed to provide at least 20 million more Oxford/AstraZeneca doses to the world’s poor in 2022 to ensure we all beat the virus – we also agreed that Iran can never develop or acquire a nuclear weapon, and an agreement on girls' education – providing £50 million to help those in Afghanistan most at risk under the Taliban regime. We must now build on this work and grasp the historic opportunity to deliver on commitments made to reduce emissions and protect our planet as we build back greener from the pandem

The start of the "Conference of the Parties" (COP) summit in Glasgow

Today   the world meets in Glasgow to mark the beginning of the COP26 Summit   – bringing together over 25,000 delegates to work together to combat the impacts of climate change. COP26 is the world’s last, best chance to reach agreement on the action needed to avert catastrophic climate change and support those already experiencing its effects. The UK’s leadership is already showing key signs of progress as almost 80 per cent of the world’s economy is now covered by net zero targets, up from less than 30 per cent when the UK took on the Presidency of COP26 – we will continue to lead the way as we convene world leaders over the next two weeks. As the largest international summit we have ever hosted – it will be a challenge to get agreements but this is the best chance to make the changes now and lead the world in tackling climate change. 

Quote of the day 31st October 2021

"Intellect is not wisdom" (Thomas Sowell, American economist) Why repeated three times? In the words of Lewis Carroll, "What I tell you three times is true." 

Bad weather continues - latest warning for wind and rain

Yellow weather warnings are for Cumbria and much of the rest of North West England today (Sunday 31st October) and tomorrow (Monday.1st November 2021) Strong winds are expected across the coast of north west England between midnight and 10am on Monday morning. There is also a yellow weather warning for rain across the north west, with the Met Office saying: "Several further spells of heavy rainfall are likely to impact this region, bringing some further localised flooding and travel disruption." Stay safe this Hallowe'en.

All Soul's Day

Today is All Soul's day when we remember all who have died. I lit a candle at St Jame's church after the Eucharist this morning and prayed for all those we have lost - those who have died in the pandemic, James Brokenshire, Sir David Amess, victims of war and terrorism and of natural disasters from Afghanistan to Haiti. So many tragedies this year.

Halloween music spot: "Danse Macabre" by Saint Saens


Watch out for more rain and flooding tomorrow!

  The Met Office has issued a yellow rain warning for tomorrow (Sunday 31 October) with heavy rain likely across Cumbria. Please stay safe. YOu can get more information by: Keeping up-to-date with Met Office weather forecasts & warnings at: http:// and Signing up for free flood warnings at: http:// ood-warnings … Checking the latest Environment Agency flood alerts/warnings at: http:// Following @TheFloodHub  on twitter - a one-stop shop for flood advice to support householders, businesses & communities.

Project Gigabit report

The government has reported here on Project Gigabit, the plan to upgrade high speed broadband to help families and businesses by making it easier and faster to do things online. As the world’s digital revolution continues apace, the infrastructure that connects us is more important than ever. This is the third Project Gigabit quarterly update and, thanks to the work of industry and our record £5 billion investment, we are making phenomenal progress delivering the biggest broadband rollout in UK history. Britain has now passed the connectivity halfway mark. More than 57 percent of UK homes and businesses - that’s 17.5 million properties - can now access the fastest broadband speeds available; and  children in more than a thousand schools are now enjoying gigabit internet speeds thanks to government investment. While we have already made great strides, we still have some of the most challenging parts of our four nations to reach - a considerable undertaking involving industry, regulato

Clocks go back tonight!

British Summer Time ends tonight and we get an extra hour. It is said that there is many a true word spoken in jest and I think this is an example ...

November meeting of Cumbria County Council

 The November 2021 meeting of Cumbria County Council will be held at 10 a.m. this coming Thursday (4th November 2021) at Carlisle Racecourse, Durdar Road, Carlisle. The full agenda and supporting documents can be found on the CCC website at Agenda for County Council on Thursday, 4th November, 2021, 10.00 am | Cumbria County Council The main agenda items are: Minutes of the last meeting and meetings of the county cabinet & committees (Agenda items 5, 7, 14 and 15) 8. Corporate Parenting Board Annual Update Report 9. Youth Justice Plan 2021-22 10. Extemding the term of an independent member of the standards committee (to reflect the extended term of this session of the council before it winds up in 2023) 11. Treasury Management Half Year Strategy Review 2021/2022  12. Revised Code of Conduct 13. Questions from councillors  to the Leader, member of the executive or committee.chairs 16. Notice of Motions I have proposed a motion asking the Constitutional Review Group to look at how dem

Saturday music spot: The King's Singers version of the Overture from Rossini's "The Barber Of Seville"


Quote of the day 30th October 2021


Music to start the weekend: The King's Singers sing "The Windmills of Your Mind"


A question for today

 Am I the only person who is sick to death of hearing Rishi described as a high spending, high tax chancellor - which to deal with the pandemic he's had to be -  by people whose response to EVERY individual spending decision he made was to ask why he wasn't spending  vastly more?

World Stroke Day 2021

Today is World stroke day - an opportunity to raise awareness of how serious strokes can be and how to respond to them. When someone has a stroke, every second counts in getting them treatment as soon as possible. Remember, act F.A.S.T, for  F ACE drooping - A RM weakness - S PEECH difficulty - T IME to call an Ambulance. My late father was a stroke survivor. He had his first stroke when he was in his mid-thirties and I was a toddler, and it had life-changing consequences. He had his second stroke in his late sixties: fortunately I was there and although I did not understand what was happening, I realised that he needed urgent attention and called 999 and an ambulance arrived quickly and got him fast treatment.  Another stroke hit while he was on his own in his early seventies and this one killed him. When somebody has a stroke, every second that goes by is crucial. As brain tissue and millions of neurons begin to fade away, time could not be more precious. The World Stroke day #Preci

Record staff numbers now working in the NHS

Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced this morning that he is delighted to see record staff numbers working in the NHS including 5,500 more doctors & 10,000 more nurses. The NHS is recruiting even more people to join their ranks to help us recover from COVID-19 and to tackle the backlog.

Quote of the day 29th October 2021 - Angela Rayner's apology

“While I have been away from the cut and thrust of Parliament I have reflected on our political debate and the threats and abuse that now seem to feature all too often. “I have also reflected on what I said at an event at Labour Party conference. I was angry about where our country is headed and policies that have made life harder for so many people I represent. “But I would like to unreservedly apologise for the language I used, and I would not use it again. I will continue to speak my mind, stand up for Labour values and hold the Government to account. But in the future I will be more careful about how I do that and in the language that I choose,” (Rt Hon Angela Rayner MP , deputy leader of the Labour party, apologising on Facebook yesterday for calling senior Conservatives "scum." I hope that people of all persuasions can now move on from this and that all of us can be more careful in the language we use.)

Putting more police on our streets

The Conservatives are well on our way to delivering the promise to put more bobbies on the beat with the news that   11,053 additional police officers have been recruited   across England and Wales – putting us on track to deliver our manifesto commitment to recruit 20,000 by 2023, keeping communities safe. We are determined to crack down on crime and back our police with the powers and officers they need to shut down drug gangs, take knives off our streets, and protect communities. That is why since 2019 we have recruited an additional 11,053 police officers across England and Wales, putting us on track to deliver on our manifesto promise of 20,000 by 2023– with figures showing that over four in ten new recruits are women. Every police force area in our country will benefit from more officers, meaning safer streets, secure neighbourhoods, and more support for victims.

Music to relax after campaigning: Fugue in G-minor (BWV 578) by J.S. Bach


Geoff Mitchell for Currock and Upperby!

Despite the horrible weather today and a diversions past a number of stretches of road which had been flooded, I managed to get safely to Carlisle just in time for the rain to stop while I was campaigning for our excellent Conservative candidate in today's Currock and Upperby council by-election, Geoff Mitchell. Good luck Geoff!  

Watch out for flooding

Take great care if you are travelling anywhere in Cumbria or South West Scotland today. The Met office issued a warning of heavy rain and possible flooding and they were right. The A595 is flooded in places where it runs through Whitehaven as the Loop Road - as are other parts of Whitehaven which, if you did not know the area, you might not believe it possible to have a flooding problem.  Just took this from Twitter

Quote of the day 28th October 2021

"Leadership is a journey, not a destination.  It is continually challenged and must prove itself anew against fresh obstacles.  Sometimes those obstacles are external events. Sometimes they are the doubts of those being led.  Still other times they are the results of the leaders' own failures and shortcomings."  (Quotes attributed to the Star Wars character Grand Admiral Thrawn by Youtuber " Star Wars Bengels .")

Protecting rivers

There has been much concern about pollution in rivers and the potential for storm overflows to contribute to this problem. The government has listened and will be changing legislation already on the way through parliament. Yesterday it was announced that the Environment Bill will be strengthened further by  enshrining into law requirements on water companies   to significantly reduce discharges from storm overflows. Storm overflows help to prevent sewers being overloaded in wet weather and backing up into homes and businesses – but greater rainfall caused by climate change as well as increases in population mean they have been used more often in recent years. That is why yesterday the government announced a new amendment to the Environment Bill, which will enshrine into law a duty on water companies to secure a progressive reduction in discharges from storm overflows, as part of the direct action we are taking to tackle storm overflows through a swathe of measures in the Environment Bi

Midweek music spot: the Grand Admiral Thrawn Theme from Star Wars


A budget to build a stronger economy for Britain

Today the Chancellor delivered the Autumn Budget and Spending Review, setting out how the Conservatives are delivering   a stronger economy for the British people   as we build back better from the pandemic. One year ago, this country was in the grip of the biggest recession in 300 years. Thanks to our Plan For Jobs, we are today recovering faster than our major competitors, more people are in work, and growth is up. But uncertainty in the global economy means that recovery is now under threat. That is why this Budget and Spending Review delivers a stronger economy for the British people: Strengthening our public finances, ensuring debt is falling again, and rebuilding our resilience Helping working families meet the cost of living and supporting vulnerable households Supporting businesses with post-Brexit tax reforms, tax cuts and incentives to invest Delivering stronger public services across all departments Driving economic growth – by investing in infrastructure, innovation and ski

Quote of the day 27th October 2021


Quote of the day 26th October 2021

Until I spotted this one last week, yesterday's quote of the day ("There are no solutions, there are only trade-offs") was my favourite Thomas Sowell quote. This is my new favourite.

Monday music spot: Vivaldi's Four Seasons, Winter.


Adult Social Care recruitment

The government has   announced £162.5 million in extra funding to help the adult social care workforce boost recruitment   and continue providing high-quality care for everyone who needs it.  We all owe our social care workforce an enormous debt of gratitude for their work during the pandemic – and the Conservative government is determined to make the bold decisions to reform social care to prioritise their skills and wellbeing. So, to boost the number of people working in adult social care, the government is investing £162.5 million in a new retention and recruitment fund for local authorities across England, on top of £388 million in infection control funding.  Everyone deserves to be cared for with dignity and respect. This funding, as well as our wider reforms, will bring Britain closer to having a world-leading social care system.

Quote of the day 25th October 2021

I have not reposted this because I have run out of quotes. I have reposted this because it bears repeating.  

Sunday music spot: "If ye love me" by Thomas Tallis


The Get Help with Technology programme

The government has   announced a £126 million investment in laptops and tablets to help care leavers, children with a social worker and vulnerable children arriving from Afghanistan   access their education and fulfil their potential.  While talent is spread evenly across the country, opportunity is not, and we need to  continue to support children most in need with resources for their education.  That is why the government is expanding the Get Help with Technology Programme by investing £126 million in laptops and tablets to provide up to 500,000 devices for disadvantaged children – to boost their learning in school and improve the life chances of those in the care system, including some of the most vulnerable children we have recently taken in from Afghanistan. Conservatives are determined to help all children and young people, no matter their background, to access education and support for a better and brighter future.

Quote of the day 24th October 2021


Saturday music spot: Handel's "As steals the morn"


Quote of the day 23rd October 2021


Better broadband for schools, continued

Children in more than a thousand schools are now enjoying next-generation internet speeds thanks to government investment.  And the government has launched a call for evidence on people's digital needs and what should be done to enable digital access to be improved further. Thousands of pupils in schools with where internet speed was previously slow can now access gigabit broadband Nearly 7,000 hospitals, libraries, police stations and other public buildings to be upgraded by end of March Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries says: “We are levelling up pupils’ and teachers’ access to the fastest future-proofed broadband” Children in more than a thousand schools are now enjoying next-generation internet speeds thanks to government investment. Full-fibre networks stretching for thousands of kilometres are now supplying lightning-fast gigabit broadband to 1,084 schools and thousands of other public buildings previously stuck with slow speeds. It means teachers can make use of the most cutt

Five million people have had a booster jab


Music to start the weekend: Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata


Quote of the day 22nd October 2021

"You should never point a gun at a man unless you intend to use it" (Anonymous, but similar to statements by General George Patton and one of the first rules in any good guide to firearms safety)

Winter Vaccine drive

The government has today   launched a national advertising campaign alongside the largest ever winter vaccine drive   – to boost vaccine uptake and strengthen our defensive wall against Covid over the winter months. As we enter the winter months, seasonal weather increases transmission of viruses, including flu and Covid - it is vital that all those eligible to get a first vaccine dose, booster, or flu jab do so to protect themselves, their loved ones and the NHS.  That is why the government is working with national pharmacies including Boots and advertising booster jabs on billboards, radio, and on TV shows such as Coronation street – while rolling out the biggest flu programme in history with 35 million people eligible for a free vaccine, after already administering over 4 million booster doses. The government does have a Plan B to avoid a rise in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS. These measures will be introduced if and only if they are needed. Anyo

Quote of the day 21st October 2021


Remembering James Brokenshire

The funeral takes place at noon today for James Brokenshire, MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup and a former cabinet minister, who died from with cancer a few days ago after a three-year battle with the disease. He was 53 years old and leaves a widow, Cathy, and three children, Sophie, Jemma and Ben James and I go back more than thirty years to when we were both Young Conservatives: he was my successor but one as Chairman of the East of England Area Young Conservatives. I attended his and Cathy's wedding and a year or two later they came to mine. James was a highly intelligent, kind, practical and reasonable man and a dedicated public servant. Most people will never know of some of the things he did to protect them. He is a great loss to politics - he will be an even greater loss to his family. Rest in Peace.

UK and New Zealand trade deal announced

Today the UK government has announced   an historic new free trade agreement between the UK and New Zealand , cutting tariffs and creating opportunities as we unlock the potential of Global Britain. The UK and New Zealand are close partners, with a shared belief in free and fair trade and a mutual desire to strengthen our relationship and boost our economies. That is why the UK and New Zealand government have reached an agreement in principle that paves the way for an historic trade deal with New Zealand, cutting tariffs on goods, increasing access for our services and making it easier for UK professionals to live and work in New Zealand. This world-leading free trade agreement will drive growth across the UK, cutting red tape for British businesses and opening up access for our workers – boosting our economy as we build back better.

Midweek music spot: Handel's "Waft her, Angels, through the skies"

   Another good performance of the same piece.

Campaigning resumes

A pause in political campaigning was declared by CCHQ immediately as a mark of respect following the tragic murder of Sir David Amess MP, This was maintained until Tuesday, but political campaigning has now resumed.

The Chief Medical Officer's latest advice:


How Liberty Dies

Youtube has been suggesting for weeks that I might be interested in watching the video below, "how liberty dies" and I eventually made the bad mistake of taking "a glance" at it late one night last weekend when I had been about to retire for the evening. I am no longer allowed to display the sound and video on this blog but you can still watch and listen to it on Youtube by clicking on this link . To be clear, the mistake was choosing that time to look at it and my wife quite rightly told me off an hour and twenty minutes later when I finally came to bed in the wee small hours.  It wasn't a mistake to watch it and I strongly recommend it to anyone with an interest in politics. Just make sure that you have an hour ant twenty minutes clear.  In "Star Wars III - Revenge of the Sith" Senator Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman) says "So this is how liberty dies - to thunderous applause."   This video pulls together material from all three Star Wars pr

Quote and thought of the day 20th October: Where does a free society draw the line?

In 2011, in a public speech, Labour MP John McDonnell said this: ‘I want to be in a situation where no Tory MP, no Tory or MP, no Coalition Minister, can travel anywhere in the country or show their face anywhere in public without being challenged by direct action.’  He added: ‘Any institution or any individual that attacks our class, we will come for you with direct action.’ This year, according to The Times, an anti-vaxxer activist posted in a group chat on a secure messaging platform “Pull up outside the front doors of every MP, news reader, editor, publisher . . . all of these f***ers need to know that we know who you are and we know where you live,” .  “They will soon change up their actions when 20,000 are outside your house.” McDonnell is still a Labour MP who served for a while as shadow chancellor and as the Corbynistas frequently remind us, could easily have been the actual chancellor if a few thousand more votes had been cast in particular marginal seats for Labour in 2017.

Quote of the day 19th October 2021

To be fair to Twitter, most of the points in this quote from an article by Ian Dunt apply to the vast majority of social media platforms

Tuesday music spot: Monteverdi: "Sí dolce è'l tormento"


Monday Music spot: Camille and Julie Berthollet perform "Palladio" by Karl Jenkins


Quote of the day 18th October 2021

I will be referring to this quote by US economist Thomas Sowell in a post later this week, because it is repeated at the end of a video article I am planning to link to. See if you can spot it!

Sunday music spot: Henry Purcell's Evening Hymn, sung by Thomas Cooley, with Voices of Music


Let's appreciate our opponents while they are still alive

Yesterday at a church function one of the people attending said to me that he thought it was a good thing that the Prime Minister and leader of the opposition had put aside their differences that morning  to appear together laying floral tributes to the murdered MP Sir David Amess.  I agreed entirely with him, as I have agreed with similar opinions on social media.  But it should not be just when those opponents have died, when they retire or when they receive an honour that politicians feel able to say anything positive about their opponents. We need to be much better at recognising the humanity and acknowledging good points put forward by our political opponents when they are alive and in the normal course of politics - and that goes for people of all political parties. Many years ago the "Not the Nine o'clock News" comedy programme did a sketch which begins with two politicians insulting one another in the most vituperative terms on television when one of them, played

Quote of the day 17th October 2021

"Everyone – at least every sensible, decent person, of which there are many – in Labour’s ranks knows it’s wrong. Keir Starmer knows it. Angela Rayner knows it. Every Labour MP knows it. "It can’t continue like this. It can’t take the killing of a Conservative MP in their constituency" ... "for the Left to set aside their tribalism and acknowledge the essential decency of one of their opponents." "Not least because that tribalism will not be set aside for long. Tomorrow, the House of Commons will gather for a moment of reflection. Sir Keir Starmer and other Labour MPs will help lead the tributes. And then it will be back to business as usual. ‘Tories – they hate the poor, they hate the migrants. They deserve everything they get.’ They don’t. Because they’re not ‘scum’. Tories are good, honest, decent, committed public servants, who just happen to have a different political philosophy. David Amess wasn’t the exception, he was the rule. And it’s time for peo

Saturday music spot: "My Heart is Inditing" by G.F. Handel


Better broadband for schools

This week it was confirmed that  more than one thousand schools in hard-to-reach areas are now connected to lightning-fast full fibre broadband  – delivering on Conservative plans to level up schools across the country and build back better.   Whilst most schools in urban or suburban areas in the UK have access to high-speed broadband, many schools in hard-to-reach areas in particular cannot access these speeds and were not in line to receive upgrades commercially.    That is why the government has focused investment in these areas, and now children and teachers in more than one thousand schools –  many in rural areas such as Norfolk and the Highlands – are being supplied with lightning-fast gigabit broadband so they can enjoy next-generation internet speeds. Work is also underway to bring gigabit speeds to even more schools, with 884 earmarked to be connected by March next year.    This is part of the Conservative mission to level up internet access across the UK and to give children